and the one show americans watch more in late night is "nightline." america's first choice. and for making us the number one most watched show in late night, we simply say, thank you america, from all of us here at abc "nightline." tonight on "nightline," real big love. one man, four wives, and 16 children. but the doors to this polygamist family's secret life are now wide open. we take you inside the lives and bedrooms of a very different modern family. and, the chief's daughter. hard drugs, a convicted rapist, and a father bent on understanding his daughter's mysterious death. we bring you an exclusive interview with the police chief determined to defend his daughter's honor and see justice
done. plus, back to the future. before phones looked like this, they looked like this. and before the economy looked like this, it looked like this. as wall street returns to the movie house, all things '80s is tonight's "sign of the times." >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," september 23rd, 2010. >> good evening. we begin tonight with a look inside the home of an american family that is anything but ordinary. the brown family is thoroughly modern and yet they practice an ancient custom, polygamy. cody brown has four wives. he sleeps with each in a different bed every night and has 16 children. now, the browns have opened their home to a television crew,
emerging from the shadows to different from anybody else. >> reporter: this is cody brown >> how was your day? >> reporter: this is cody's they have six kids. >> if you are questioning the order of how family came together, he's number two. >> reporter: and this is his third wife, christine. >> i just fell in love. and then i fell in love again. and then i fell in love again. >> reporter: they're the stars of the new show on tlc called three wives to four. >> my wiveses have been together for 16 years, and all the children have grown up in this bringing somebody new into the family is a totally new thing,
do you remember robin? do you like robin? that direction. i do it for love, because this is something that's come together out of love. christine all live in one big house with their kids. nearby. >> she's a cyster from the same mister and he's a brother from polyig-lets. >> reporter: there will be some
people that see your lives and say, this is just plain wrong. >> um, sorry. everybody. and we would never say that. and we don't even recommend it for anybody who is not >> reporter: could you get in gone public? >> we've -- we weighed that. >> there's a risk. >> reporter: but it is a >> you're right. but what we'd rather say is that, raising children in a closed society could cause a lot more damage than any kind of legal process. >> and honestly, i want my children to grow up, to be able >> reporter: whether you think wrong, it's challenging. incomes. and then there are the interpersonal logistics.
cody sleeps in a different you must feel torn in four different directions. you have to back off and -- >> he does. >> he's so patient. he has -- i don't remember the last time he sat and watched television. he always have -- he is always giving to the kids or the wives, i mean -- >> and he's running where eveve keep my clothes everywhere, i kind of live in this whole house. i'll shower here and then run upstairs twice to get clothes >> reporter: when you're driving home from work and trying to supposed to sleep in tonight, kids am i going to be confronted with -- do you ever think, what am i doing? >> all right, not very often,
>> reporter: the sister wives, lifestyle. >> helping my mom. that's how they've all grown up. they've grown up with this really great work ethic. >> reporter: including sharing chores and child rearing. >> a loose tooth. ready? >> there you go. >> holy cow. >> don't do that! >> reporter: and the security to know that their children will always be taken care of. >> reporter: still, they admit so, are there moments when you other wives when you think, i'm not getting enough attention. >> uh-huh. >> reporter: how often does that happen?
>> i don't know. they happen. but then there's also the times that i know the other wives will look at the situation and hook at me and, like, okay, well, i'm the one who is getting all the attention. i kind of goes both ways. >> we all realize that it's not just our relationship with him that matters. it's all of their relationships it's all of our relationships with each other. it's all of our relationships and we're talking about a huge dynamic, and we all realize and that's what has to happen in order to have a functioning all of our relationships have to work. so it's a lot of give and take. >> reporter: the jealousy issue got more complicated last may when cody added wife number four, robin who he met through the family's church. >> it was just a chance meeting. we just happened to run into each other and i never met him before or mary and they were together, and mary and i started talking and texting, and it kind >> reporter: mary did the
>> we were texting and talking before he and i were texting or >> what happened is, we stop in to see friends of ours that happen to be relatives of robin, mary and robin hit it off. as we're driving away, mary is going, hey, what do you think? many americans have of polygamy. se kre tef societies, women wearing prairie dresses. young girls allegedly abused and church leaders standing trial. is it your hope by exposing your lives that you'll counter some of the negative publicity that's been out there? >> that's one of the biggest we have so many stereotypes and so much bad media about this life there's not abuse in our home. we don't have underage brides, we don't have all the other things that are actually very happy. raising children? >> very good one. >> for this family it is. >> we feel like our children are very well balanced.
they're proud of their big family. and they love telling their and, i think that they are turning out very well balanced. >> they'll be very decent >> reporter: do you want your children to live the same >> we want our children to be happy and whatever it is they choose to make them happy, that's what we want for them. if they choose this lifestyle, great, and if they don't choose it, that's great, too. >> reporter: one big family, with a lifestyle way out of the ma america doesn't have to emulate them, but should, at least, accept them. >> give me a kiss. i love you. >> reporter: for "nightline" this is dan harris. >> "sister wives" airs sunday on tlc. check your local listings. and when we return, a police mystery becomes a father's nightmare. [ male announcer ] this rock has never stood still.
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>> this is not a murder. there's no murder at all. she overdosed in her sleep. >> she didn't sound like she was on anything. she didn't sound like she was drunk. >> he woke up and she was dead. >> reporter: what do you think happened that night? >> you know, i don't know. we may never know. we may never know what happened. >> reporter: what merl hamilton does know is that his daughter was found dead in this storage locker after a late night with this registered sex offender with a lengthy criminal record, including rape, breaking and entering, and drug possession. do you think that he killed your daughter? >> i don't know. i don't know enough about it to say that. i think if he wasn't with my daughter that night, she would be alive. >> reporter: but now hamilton finds himself having to answer questions about the life style his daughter led. >> it's very, very unfortunate to me that people will see one segment of a case and then
almost immediately start laying some semblance of blame on the victim. >> reporter: valerie hamilton went missing a week ago wednesday. she was seen leaving a local bar with michael harvey. when she didn't show up to her job as a swim instructor, friends and coworkers began to worry. >> it's not like her to not show up and not let us know that, i'm sick or my car's broken or i had something else going on. >> reporter: we felt it. i think the police side of me knew and the father side was hoping that something -- anything. valerie did make at least one phone call after leaving the bar at around 3:00 a.m., to her friend, ashley barton. >> she's like, what are you doing? i'm laying in bed, sleeping. and she was like, can you come out to the hot tub with me and my friend? >> reporter: late saturday night -- >> i'm sad to report that we have recovered the body of miss hamilton. >> reporter: police gave few details, saying that her body
was wrapped in material and that the cause of death was not immediately obvious. the next morning, the police chief thrust his daughter's case into the national spotlight with a plea. >> i want to ask, robin, my law enforcement brothers and sisters across the country to help me with this. they took my daughter, guys, and, play it right, play it by the rules, but y'all get out there and find this guy for me, and when it comes back my way, i'll pay you back. >> reporter: just hours later, fbi and u.s. marshals arrested harvey, allegedly high on heroin, hundreds of miles away in his hometown of niagara falls. >> we were fortunate to get a tip, and it was successful. >> reporter: that night in concord, hundreds celebrated valerie's life. at that vigil, hamilton mouthed the words to the song that defined their relationship. ♪ you will find me ♪ time after time
>> there's a song that was her ringtone for when i called. i think if she was alive, she was waiting for me to come through the door. >> reporter: the next day, as family and friends gathered for her funeral, the suspect spoke out. >> this was not a murder. >> reporter: outside his first court appearance, his mother came to his defense. >> i know my son. he wouldn't hurt no one. he wouldn't even hurt a fly. >> reporter: and his friends began to come forward. >> he was messed up, so he hid the body. i mean, yeah, hiding the body was wrong, but -- i mean, it was just like a shock, you know, how did you feel if you woke up and someone was dead next to you? >> reporter: police released repreliminary evidence that may back harvey's claim. police say she willingly left the bar with him, and found no signs of physical trauma on her body. they did find evidence of drug usage and said that valerie
appeared to need immediate medical attention, but harvey did not help her get it. they believe he made great efforts to clean up any to ten rnl cri potential crime scenes before he disposed of the body. he violated probation five times in the last three years. do you feel like there was a failure on the justice system's part, this man should have been behind bars? >> most people deserve a second chance. but you shouldn't get a third and a fourth and a fifth and a sixth chance. >> reporter: the medical examiner is still processing valerie's toxicology report and sexual examination kit. it not clear what she may have taken, but police say drugs were involved. friends say that just wasn't valerie. did valerie use drugs? >> no. can i say she's never experim t experimented, i don't know. >> we never saw her do drugs. >> doing this job a long time, i know when you become an adult,
you get all the positives of being independent and what not, you start chasing adult demons instead of children demons. >> reporter: but this father says, whatever her action, his daughter's death was not her fault. >> there are things being said about my daughter that would not be said if it would have been my son. if i would have had a son. the questions about, why was she out late? well, why did she just leave with him? if that was a guy, nobody would be saying that. >> reporter: do you feel that as a father now, you're having to defend your daughter in her death? >> i know who my daughter was, and her friends know who she was. my wife knows who she was, my daughter knows who she was. more importantly, my god knows who she was. and i'm not going to defend her. there's nothing to defend. >> reporter: michael harvey's extradition to charlotte has been delayed because he's said to be going through drug
withdrawal. it is not clear what charges he will ultimately face. in a few days, the chief will be back on the beat, with a renewed sense of purpose. remembering the daughter he called val, now gone forever. >> she was so loving. and so open. she embraced everybody. ultimately, that -- that, you know, might have led to where she is now. >> reporter: i'm yunji de nies for "nightline" in charlotte. >> a heartbreaking case. we will, of course, continue to follow the story. when we return, what's old is new again. it's an '80s flashback. [o[o[o[o[o[o[o[o[o[o[o[o[o[o[o[o ♪
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>> announcer: "night >> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with cynthia mcfadden. >> the sequel to oliver stone's blockbuster 1987 film "wall street" opens tomorrow. which got us thinking about the 1980s, and how things have, and have not, changed. it's a trip down memory lane, '80s style. for david wright, it's a "sign of the times." >> reporter: the new kwl wall street" opening with gordon gekko getting out of jail. >> one watch. and one mobile phone. >> reporter: the well-dressed equivalent of an unfrozen caveman. in a world that's now greedier than even me imagined. >> it's about the game. >> reporter: a lot has changed the top of the charts was george michael. the tv shows that ruled the roost? bill cosby, "family ties" and
"cheers." in hollywood, the big screen was obsessed by the dark side of the force. a different world, but some say, only by degrees. >> i know we're in a recession but it seems like we're just as materialistic. we're just as obsessed with wall street. the '80s are the longest decade other, other than that short period in the early '90s where people wore flannel. >> reporter: back then, it seemed like justice when gordon gekko got busted. now days, it's a martha stewa stewart-like crime. netflix the original sometime. immediately, it's dated. morning in america, like the twin towers, gone forever. >> the point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. >> reporter: gecko's greed speech defined the ethos of the
decade. but does it hold up after the collapse of bear stearns? >> back when, it was shocking. now, there's a whole tea party that orders that. >> hey, i'm kramer. >> reporter: this is mr. wall street today. jim cramer, host of cnbc's "mad money." back in the '80s, he was a young broker at goldman sachs. >> it was the most spot-on movie. we all saw it, all of us in our 20s, and we were like, our jaws were dropping that they had nailed it so unbelievably. >> reporter: those cell phones the size of bricks. those stretch limos rolling through streets paved with gold. >> all right, mr. gecko. you got me. >> you saw a window of glamour. it seemed glamorous and exciting to be on wall street. guys talking fast, guys making quick municipal. you say to yourself, okay, listen, if i want a crook, i
have to go there. >> reporter: now, gordon gekko seems like a petty thief, compared to a bernie madoff. >> those guys were model t. they were model t and we're corvettes now. look at the noor of the new york stock exchange in "wall street one." now you look at it, it's like going to a bowling alley. it's like, well, where did they all go? >> reporter: they went where everything else from the '80s went. online. like jennifer gray, dirty dancing then, or "dancing with the stars" now -- >> i miss the hair. i think we all miss '80s hair. >> reporter: greed hasn't gone owl of style. it's just aged a bit. i'm david wright for "nightline" in los angeles. >> and a look back. a note about michael douglas' health. despite the recent diagnosis of throat cancer, he did appear at the film's new york city premiere on monday. we wish him the best. we'll be right back, but first, jimmy kimmel with what's coming up next on the show.
>> jimmy: tonight, zach gal fan coming up next on the show. >> jimmy: tonight, zach gal fan knack kis, music from have bone if they have their way, we're facing a mountain of debt and a massive tax increase. employers will continue to leave our state, taking their jobs with them. the next four years will impact the next decade, so we've put together a road map to 2020. a plan that brings jobs back to maryland by reducing spending and lowering taxes. let's make the maryland we love not just good, but great. now let's get down to work.